Circle City Strife: Gay and Lesbian Activism during the Hudnut Era
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This paper will be discussing gay and lesbian activism in Indianapolis during the 1980s and how the mayoral administration at the time interacted with it. We know the stories of Stonewall and San Francisco. But what about gay and lesbian activism in the Midwest? What stories does Indianapolis have to tell? This thesis will cover how a portion of the movement played out in Indianapolis. It will shine a light on the 1980s and look specifically at police discrimination on Monument Circle, gatherings like the Gay Knights rallies and the 1990 Celebration on the Circle, and political efforts to combat the HIV epidemic. It will also explore the local actions by city government to undertake the urban renewal movement and how those efforts interacted with queer activism. Collections from the Indiana Historical Society, University of Indianapolis, and the Indiana State Library illuminate both sides of the social conflict to understand what made this moment in Indianapolis a touchstone moment for the city. This thesis argues that gay and lesbian protests and social gatherings on Monument Circle rendered the queer community impossible to ignore in the Hudnut administration’s dreams to reform Indianapolis into an entrepreneurial city.